Speech-language pathology and audiology services are vital to safe and reliable long-term care. However, speech-language pathology and audiology services are not available in the majority of long-term care homes across Canada.
Why access to speech-language and pathology services and audiology services is important:
- About 75% of residents have communication disorders, resulting from stroke, dementia, Parkinson’s disease and other neurological conditions.
- The majority of residents have hearing loss which often co-occurs with other sensory impairments (e.g., vision, balance).
- Over half of residents in long-term care have swallowing difficulties.
Speech-language pathologists (S-LPs) and audiologists are specially trained to address communication and swallowing issues (S-LPs), and hearing and balance difficulties (audiologists).
When incorporated into long-term care teams, S-LPs and audiologists play in an important role in improving quality of life for residents.
How S-LPs and audiologists can help:
- Promoting effective resident-staff communication
- Enabling residents to communicate, participate and live as independently as possible
- Ensuring accurate evaluation of swallowing needs as well as safe and enjoyable meal times
- Addressing responsive behaviours in people with dementia
- Reducing caregiver stress
SAC has developed an information sheet for Speech & Hearing Month 2022 on the role of the professions in long-term care.
Other SAC Resources:
Dysphasia Poster and Information Sheet
Technical Brief on Speech-Language Pathology & Audiology Services in Long-term Care Settings
SAC Position Paper: Swallowing and Feeding Disorders Across the Lifespan
SAC Position Statement: The Role of Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists in Dementia Care
SAC Position Statement: The Role of Speech-Language Pathologists, Audiologists and Communication Health Assistants in End of Life Care
SAC Position Statement: Audiologic Rehabilitation: Solutions to Optimize Accessibility and Participation for People with Hearing Problems
The Ontario Association of Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists (OSLA) recommended care for hearing and vestibular needs of residents in long-term care